Holiness and Transgression: Mothers of the Messiah in the Jewish Myth

Date: Dec 14, 2017 - Dec 14, 2017

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Sponsor: The Library

Location: JTS

Category: Book Talks Library Events

Holiness and Transgression: Mothers of the Messiah in the Jewish Myth

A panel discussion featuring author Dr. Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel in dialogue with Dr. Eitan Fishbane, Dr. Biti Roi, Dr. Nathaniel Berman, and Ruby Namdar

Thursday, December 14, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel’s award-winning new book explores the female dynasty of the House of David and its influence on the Jewish messianic myth. Through an examination of the connection between female transgression and redemption, from the Bible through Rabbinic literature until the Zohar, this innovative work sheds light on the centrality of the mother image in Judeo-Christan culture.


Admission is free, but reservations are required. Please arrive early and have photo ID available.

This event is sponsored by The JTS Library. Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS, will serve as moderator.

About the Speakers

Dr. Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel is a lecturer at Haifa University and a research fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and at the Shalom Hartman Institute. Her current research deals with intersections between mysticism, gender, and psychoanalysis.

Dr. Eitan Fishbane is associate professor of Jewish Thought at The Jewish Theological Seminary. The recipient of a Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, Fishbane is the author or editor of several books, including:As Light Before Dawn: The Inner World of a Medieval Kabbalist (Stanford University Press, 2009) and The Art of Mystical Narrative: A Poetics of the Zohar (Oxford University Press, 2018). 

Dr. Biti Roi is lecturer of Kabbalah and Hasidism in the department of Jewish Thought at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. She is a research fellow and teaches at the Elyashar Center for Studies in Sepharadi Heritage at Ben Gurion, and she is a researcher at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Her book “Love of the Shekhina: Mysticism and Poetics in Tiqqunei ha- Zohar” (Bar Ilan University Press) was awarded the 2017 Matanel Prize for the Best Book in Jewish Thought.

Nathaniel Berman is the Rahel Varnhagen Professor of International Affairs, Law, and Modern Culture at Brown University. Berman is the author of Passion and Ambivalence:  Colonialism, Nationalism, and International Law (Brill, 2011).  He is currently completing a book on the demonic in the Zohar, entitled The Other Side of Kabbalah. Berman holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a PhD in Jewish Studies from University College London.

Ruby Namdar was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His first book, Haviv (2000), won The Ministry of Culture’s Award for Best First Publication. His novel The Ruined House (2013) has won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award. He currently lives in NYC with his wife and two daughters, and teaches Jewish literature, focusing on Biblical and Talmudic narrative. The English edition of The Ruined House (translated by Hillel Halkin) was published in the United States by Harper Collins in November 2017.